All of my Hnnng, forevers over this pic!
Elysiam Entertainment makes me look like a true badass, and for that I am forever in his debt. *flails*
WARNING: HUGE FURIOSA WRITE UP!!!
This costume was an insane journey. I have never worked on such a tiring project. It challenged me in ways I had not anticipated and looking back I would say I definitely underestimated it a little. I saw the movie on opening day and by that evening I had shaved all my hair off and had black make-up on my forehead. I had no idea how I was going to make this costume but I knew I had to. I began research by seeing it another seven times in theaters… After that I, ahem…acquired it…and frame-by-framed the entire movie. Over the next few days I took over 600 screenshots and broke the costume down into segments, making notes on each part. We were about to move when the movie came out so aside from researching her boots I couldn’t really start working on it. Instead I devoured every scene and watched it repeatedly. I watched the way the materials moved in the fight scenes and how Furiosa sat in the war rig. I wanted to be as faithful as I could to the character and costume. After we moved the whole damn house was in chaos so I was unable to really dive head first into the project like I wanted. But I started small and worked on anything that I could.
I began by trying to track down her boots. What a shit show, let me tell you…no one on the RPF at the time could identify them and after watching all of Furiosa’s scenes numerous times I was still no closer to even nailing a brand. The soles of shoes are great for pinpointing logos or identifying tread. A lot of companies use certain tread patterns that are synonymous with their brand. Granted there are a lot of similarities but when you are hunting for a needle in a haystack narrowing the amount of hay by even a little helps a ton.
At first I thought they might be Alpinestars, one of the more prominent brands for touring/motocross boots, but after more research I determined that Dayna Grant and Charlize Theron wore different boots. I don’t know what possessed me not to think of this in the beginning. Dayna’s shoes looked more like tennis shoe soles while Charlize’s soles were definitely more like touring boot soles. This made total sense considering a stunt woman probably needs supportive shoes. What this ultimately meant is I was still not any closer to finding boots I could be happy with. I was able to determine that Dayna Grant might have even worn covers over the front of her shoes. This could have been so that in stunts their shoes would look similar enough or to hide laces, who knows. During the fight scene after Furiosa hits Max with the fire hose you can see a flap on her shoe(instep) pull up when they roll in the sand. That is what led me to believe she wore covers. I digress…
I ended up with a pair of Motoboss boots in my size. They were an old pair someone on the RPF found on ebay and suggested to me. I bought them asap. I am still not totally satisfied with them but they worked for Dragoncon. They rubbed my calves raw and I ended up having to borrow long socks from my Max. Those poor socks saw the sweatiest, dirtiest weekend of their lives probably. I told Matt that I would spray them with silver cake spray and light them on fire so they could ride eternal, shiny and chrome. I think her boots have been identified as Eve Weisz boots though I don’t believe anything more specific than that has been found yet. My advice is to just find a good pair of touring boots that have a similar build since her boots are a bit of a mystery.
The ankle cuff was a really easy to pattern. I didn’t have to dye the leather, I just dirtied it up with weathering powders and actual dirt. I used the same matte gold center bar buckles that I used for her Imperator buckle. I got all those buckles from Karol who runs madmaxcostumes.net.He’d sourced some buckles that were very close to Furiosa’s on-screen buckles and I paypal’d him for a set.
The pants were a labor of love for sure. I am extremely proud of them. They fit really well and I feel like they are pretty faithful to her pants in the movie. My only complaint is that the legs shift a little and the zippers don’t stay centered at the back of my leg. Just a personal gripe. I started by creating a pattern from an old pair of jeans. I mapped where all the seams fell and where all the slits were by drawing directly on the jeans. Using screenshots I counted 94 slits on her pants which seems unbelievable, but if I am off it’s probably not by much. I carefully studied the bottoms of her pant legs, which seemed to be patchwork and transferred that to the jeans as well.
It was a bit of debate between fans whether or not she was wearing a gaiter on her right leg or not. Personally I did not think so. It appeared to me that both her pant legs had zippers up the back(below the knee) and that while the left one was tucked into her boot, the right one was left free. I admit that in a few b-roll shots it almost looks like it could possibly be a gaiter but I really think that it is just her pant leg. I felt an attached pant leg was one less thing to worry about and so made my decision. The pants ended up being 17 pattern pieces in all. The patchwork bottoms were really responsible for that. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make them from garment weight leather. My first idea was that I would purchase used leather motorcycle pants, seam rip and clean them up and repurpose the leather. This worked really well for the bottoms of the legs but when it came to the rest of the pattern pieces I found none of my scavenged leather pieces were big enough to accommodate the chap portions of the legs. Womp womp, my attempt to save money had backfired and I ended up having to buy a hide of garment leather anyways. I wasn’t too upset since I knew I would find a use for the leftovers.
I made sure to rub some acetone into the leather to pull off some of the finish and remove a lot of the shine as well as some dye. This would make the leather look worn and old as it would be in the wasteland. I made a mockup sans slits out of muslin. It doesn’t react at all like leather but I only needed the mockup to be in the ballpark as leather has a little give to it. I cut everything out and lightly traced the map of all the slits onto the leather. I wanted to do all the topstitching to the slits before assembling any of the panels for ease. I backed the slitted panels with some matte black supplex I had lying around from when I made Aria. For the top stitching I decided to go with a little more structured top stitch pattern. Hers looked more wavy and more random and the top stitching for each sized slit differs a little. This actually made my life easier because it meant I didn’t have to stress so hard if I screwed up.
This part and the arm were definitely the most tiring aspects. And it took me way longer to complete this portion than I thought it would. What I believed I could do in 2-3 days took more like 4-5 days. I could only topstitch for so many hours before I just wanted to just roll around on the floor like a toddler and cry. I found many excuses to stop working in order to eat, sit outside, play counterstrike, stretch, play with my bird, take screenshots in Inquisition…Once the slits were done I got the pants sewn together with little difficulty. My machine bitched and complained the whole time, however. I broke a few needles and even with tension adjustments, bobbin changes, proper feet and needles it still managed to skip a few stitches here and there. Luckily it was mostly just in the decorative top stitching I did on the patchwork areas. All in all I didn’t mind since in added to the worn look a lot of her clothing has and worked in my favor. In reality all the seams on her pants have what looks like a hand sewn leather topstitching. I tried and tried to identify what type but was unable to figure out an actual name for it. I ended up just using a basic topstitch for many places on the pants to keep my machine from protesting too much. A fellow Furiosa gave me a tip to use baby powder on the leather to help your machine be less pissed about not being a leather machine and having to sew leather. I have yet to try it but I made a note for the future.
I installed both separating zippers before attaching the lower leg portions to the rest of the pants. This was probably the least fussy part of the whole pants process. After zippers I tried the final on again and made adjustments. I knew early on that I wasn’t going to install a fly in her pants. As strange as it sounds I couldn’t find evidence of one in all the screens I had taken from the movie and in a few shots from the first fight scene between her and Max it looks like the raw edge of the pant waistline is just zigzag stitched to a wide elastic band. I just ended up going with elastic as I knew it would make the pants easy to slip off and on and it would relieve me from having to make a stupid fly. The pants were already a challenge so I was all about making it easier on myself.
I did not want to buy belts because even though I might have saved myself a couple days of dyeing, punching, riveting and barge fumes, they wouldn’t be as close to what she actually wears and I would be dissatisfied. I bought some blank belt strips at Tandy and just relied on both screens and promo images to determine color, weathering, buckles and length/number of punched holes. I wasn’t able to nail down her buckles exactly even though a few of them seemed very common. Go figure. I went with the closest style that I could find and I ended up pleased with them overall. I still may decide to swap the buckles out if I find a more accurate one but for now they are as they are. I ended up going with a light brown for all her belts but one, which was dyed British tan. I used Fiebings which I have had success with and because it was what I had around. This was only my second leatherworking project and I had already learned so much since my first. I really conditioned the leather this time to prevent any cracking and in my haste still got one spot on a belt that cracked. Lucky for me it fit the post apocalyptic look and I didn’t fret much over it. Once the belts were dyed, buckles were attached and everything was dry I lightly sanded them to weather them. I also used weathering powders to give them a grungier look. I made a point to sand/weather the buckles as well because I didn’t want them to appear too new while the leather was distressed. It’s also important to note that the types of buckles she has differ from belt to belt. There are two kinds, center bar and end bar. The top belt of her harness is a center bar buckle while the rest of them as well as her main belt buckle are end bar buckles. The buckles on her ankle cuff as well as the ones that attach her Imperator buckle are also center bar buckles.
For her main belt pouches I drafted a quick pattern and opted to use 8-9 oz leather for the main flap/back of the pouches and a lighter weight leather for the gusset. I believe it was on the thinner size of 6-7 oz. This worked really well to give both pouches body but didn’t over bulk them. Her pouches seemed kinda worn and squashed so I wanted to give that appearance while still having a working pouch. I made sure to attach the buckles and straps before sewing anything up to assure it was easy to do. Her pouches have this haphazard looking cross-lacing all around the front panel and I really wanted to recreate that. It looked to me that perhaps they were found and in poor condition, possibly damaged or falling apart. She could have added the lacing as a way to add structure to the pouches and reinforce them. I stitched the gusset to the fronts of each pouch, lightly marked where I needed the holes to be and punched them. The lacing appeared to only be on the fronts so I laced them up before sewing the back flaps of each pouch on. This made it way easier and let me see what I was doing in the process. I drew out the decorative design on her main belt and transferred it to leather. Because I was so pressed for time I opted to Barge the decorative piece onto the main belt as opposed to hand stitch it on. I wasn’t certain that I could achieve this cleanly so I liked the way the barge worked out for me. This belt is actually my favorite one and I really liked having a place to store things for once.
I initially thought about sculpting and cold casting the skull buckle but since a few other people had beat me to it I just purchased a blank resin skull kit from Mayhem Props (who ended up being super cool and helped me sort out what chains to buy for the buckle). I based out the skull in flat black primer and dry brushed using three different metallic acrylics from Vallejo model paints. I had never used Vallejo before but I loved the way they painted and I will certainly be using them in the future. I highly recommend them even if they are much more expensive than Americana or Folklore. I started from darkest and worked my way to lightest metallic. I thought about doing a brown wash but ended up skipping this step as I really liked the look I had achieved and didn’t want to overdo it. I sealed with a clear matte spray. For the leather portions I cut two discs from 8-9 oz leather and cleaned them up, making sure they were the same size. I dyed all the pieces with light brown Fiebings leather dye, conditioned them and weathered them. I sandwiched the straps between the two disc pieces and sewed them to the back disc. I stitched the disc up at the bottom, just below the circle portion of the skull. I ended up punching two holes so that the gold screws on the skull went all the way through to the back where I secured them with nuts.
The chains were a fun part to work on. My friend Chris really helped me nail down what types of chains Furiosa had on her buckle. I probably would have taken a much longer time searching for everything had he not helped me out. I bought #5 clock chain, 11mm rolo chain, antique clock chain, plumber’s safety chain, and 6mm curb chain. Some I got from etsy, some I got from the hardware store and Amazon. A lot of this chain was shiny and or brass plated so I needed to be sure it looked worn, old and much less shiny. I went to Home Depot and bought some Muriatic Acid. It’s used for shocking pools and etching concrete but you can also use it to take the finish and plating off of metals. Make sure you wear gloves, eye protection and a respirator for this step because even though this stuff is fairly weak, you still don’t want to breathe it, touch it or get it in your eyes. I poured enough acid in a bucket to just cover the chains and let them sit for a minute or two. Some chain showed a change in 45 seconds, others in 5 minutes. It dulled them out for sure. After the acid bath I poured the acid and chains into a big tub of water, diluting the acid and rinsing the chains. I rinsed them really well and let them sit to dry on a paper towel. After all the prep it was fairly easy to arrange where I wanted the chains and to attach everything. After wearing this costume at DragonCon I have to say that aside from the arm the Imperator buckle is my favorite piece of the costume just because it’s weighted and the chains swing and it’s just really cool.
Her corset/bodysuit madness was just that, madness. It was one of the more challenging aspects of the costume to figure out. What I ended up coming up with was a main corset, which held all the boning channels as well as all the decorative pintucks and an underbust corset shell. The latter was a giant, messy pain in the ass but I was really really pleased with the end result even if it wasn’t perfect. For the main corset I tore apart an old cheap costume corset I had from years ago and used it as a pattern. I already knew this corset fit me so I didn’t need to adjust the pattern at all. I used some black fabric I had lying around and some plastic boning. I suppose I could have used a better quality boning but this corset was less for drawing me in a bunch and more for just achieving the right look to the layering while adding a little support. After it was all sewn up I added eyelets and bulked up the top of the corset where the fabric layering would be. I used some lightweight batting and hand basted it on place. I didn’t worry too much about it coming up as I planned to sew all the layers and folds in place anyways. I used the dyed shirt material to add the folds to the corset so that hopefully the shirt would blend well with the top of the corset as hers does in the movie. Using references I slowly begin the process of ironing in tucks and folds into the material and pinning everything in place. I then sewed the folds in place so that even if they were to flip the look would remain static and not be undone. I am glad I added this step and the look I achieved was satisfying and close to what I was going for and close to what her corset looked like. I weathered the whole thing with weathering powders*, a little tea and dirt.
Because of the way her outfit is layered I felt the only way to achieve what I wanted was with a second, underbust corset. I appeared to me while watching the movie that her underbust or shell corset must be some kind of leather, more specifically suede by the way dirt clung to it in the fight scene. In the end I ended up performing some fuckery and witchcraft with garment leather because all the suede I found was too heavy to accurately achieve what I was going for. My corset is also black(as it appears in the movie probably due to saturation and color correction) but it’s actually a dark brown in all the promo pics. I went with black because it was what I already had and I didn’t want to blend into the belts too much as those were already obviously shades of brown. It looks black in the movie so I figured I’d go with that. Her top corset looks very dull, worn and as if she’d been wearing it for many years. It looked like she’d sweat in it, rolled in the dirt in it and as though overtime it had been shaped to fit her specifically. The biggest hurdle was that the top corset doesn’t have any seams. It has some wrinkles that look static but no seams. This idea kind of works against how corsets fundamentally work so I was really baffled as to how I would achieve this look without sewing the corset at all. The only thing that really popped into my head was to wet form it and in the process hopefully shrink it a little. Garment leather doesn’t really wet form like, say, veg tanned leather would but I still wanted to try.
I needed the underbust to be really dull so I dipped a piece of garment leather in acetone. I only used enough acetone to cover the material and wet it. This pulled an unholy amount of dye out of the leather. It also pulled conditioner off the leather and made it look really really old and used. This process was straight up gross. Acetone stinks on its own but acetone + leather was somehow even worse and even with a respirator I still got whiffs of it occasionally and ugh, it smelled awful. I also screwed up and didn’t wear gloves so my hands were covered in black leather dye for like 3 days. Oops, all in the name of cosplay. I thoroughly rinsed the leather in hot water and gently squeezed out as much liquid and dye as I could. While the leather was still wet I stretched it over my dress form and using references, folded in all the wrinkles. I pinned the edges of the leather to keep it very taut while drying and after 3-4 days I unpinned it and cut it down to size. The leather dried super stiff, which was kind of what I wanted. Since her corset didn’t appear to have any metal eyelets reinforcing the holes I backed the holes I punched with strips of 6-7 oz leather to be sure it didn’t tear when being laced up. I was really happy with the look I was able to achieve with this craziness although I may use a little barge to assure that the wrinkles stay folded down as they had a tendency to flip up during the con.
I figured that I could use a thin base shirt and layer pieces on top of that to create the look of her top. This would give it a bit more structure without making it really heavy or thick. I decided to go with simple cotton undershirts. I trimmed the collar off and began making an undyed mock up. I basically just followed what her shirt looked like in the movie and layered all the pieces on top of the base shirt, hand stitching/machine stitching where necessary. I used sandpaper to very lightly weather and creating pilling on the fabric. If you do this be very sparing with the sandpaper as it can easily shred the cotton undershirts, which I found out with my mock up. When I got to what I felt was a faithful representation of her shirt I took some pictures and notes and then unpinned everything so that I could dye the fabric. I did a lot of dye tests to be sure that I was getting the right color. I knew her shirt wasn’t quite tan or cream so I did various dye tests using both tan and brown dye. I am 100% willing to share my formula but I advise that you also test it and go with whatever works best for you. I was very pleased with the color I achieved and the way it looked once all the weathering was complete.
This part was really tricky and I am struggling with how to accurately describe how I made it so that it might be helpful for someone else. I started with a mock up pattern on paper, drawing the shape out and where the raised portions would come across. I transferred that to 3mm craft foam just to get an idea of how it might look and the scale. Once I was satisfied with that I traced that on some polystyrene and cut it out, sanded it and heat formed the base. I didn’t have any worbla and didn’t feel like ordering any but I had 3 huge sheets of wonderflex that I had ordered years ago and still hadn’t burned through so I went with that. I know, I know, wonderflex isn’t cool anymore and I deserve the shame bell but it’s important to use what you have sometimes instead of buying more stuff, especially if you can make it work. I covered the polystyrene core with wonderflex and then moved onto making the strips that went across. I double layered wonderflex and laid them across, heat forming wherever appropriate. I made sure that they were really secure and fully cooled before I moved onto the gesso stage. I lost count of gesso layers but when I got the desired smoothness I primered, painted and sealed. The gadget she has in the hole is an R/C plane engine. I got one from Cox International for 14 bucks. I had to remove a portion of it so that it would sit flush in the hole on the shoulder but it was an easy fix. I think I completed the shoulder in two days total, iirc.
This was a very simple and straightforward piece to make, thankfully. I dissected another undershirt for fabric to make the shoulder pad. I made a quick pattern in craft foam to gauge size and shape and how it would sit on my shoulder. I made a couple before I really liked one and then moved onto a mock up. The final I made from a cotton undershirt. I sewed it up, stuffed it with polyfil then topstitched the rings. I didn’t put any interfacing in the pad as I found that the mock up held shape pretty once stuffed and topstitched. I weathered it accordingly.
The goggles were a pair I bought from a steampunk vendor at Colossalcon and switched out the band for a leather band and ruched leather containing elastic. The came preweathered, albeit in the wrong color for Furiosa but I left them as is due to being pressed for time. I’ll probably repaint them later. This was a really painless part to make but I am willing to go into more detail upon request, just PM me on Facebook.
Ugh. Of course I saved the most difficult and frustrating part for last. I know a lot of people do the hardest part first but I often save these things for last because that is when I generally find the motivation and will to really push through obstacles. I tend to work well under pressure but my resolve was really put to the test with this arm and I have to say without the help and support of some of my friends and a couple other Furiosa cosplayers I would have faltered. I really felt the love on this costume and I was floored how quickly people offered aide. Robin and her husband Brian had 3D printed their middle finger claw and sent me one and Katie sent me her extra mini tripod which is what she used for her arm pistons. My Max, my awesome and amazing friend Matt, lent a lot of support in listening to me complain a lot and recommending me to McMaster-Carr to get parts.
I started with the hand since that was the anchor point that everything would be attached to. Even with screenshots I found it really difficult to grasp what all was going on with her hand. Initially I struggled with how to translate all the detail from her on screen hand in a way that would read accurately without being too busy or too simple. I made two hands, sans fingers, that I just hated and tossed immediately. The first was made entirely of wonderflex, a mistake I realized early in. Wonderflex was not going to be supportive or sturdy enough for what I wanted to do. I had heated the wonderflex and molded it to my hand which was inside a modified heavy work glove. I then carefully removed the wonderflex and dunked it in ice water to quickly cool it down. I just did not like what I had made and didn’t relish the idea that I would have to cover it all in a million coats of gesso to get a smooth surface. The second hand I made from polystyrene which I knew I could paint to resemble metal very easily, however once I started assembling it, dremeling holes for screws and a hinge, I ran into an issue. I drilled a hole close to the edge and began screwing two pieces together when I heard a snap….I had cracked the portion between the screw and the edge. I realized at that point that this material was just a little too fragile. I didn’t want to continue with it if there was a possibility for more cracks to form. I switched to sintra and made a third version that I knew was almost there. It wasn’t until the fourth and what ended up being the final version that I was even remotely pleased. Once I had finished the fingers and laid everything out it was a lot easier to see how it would all come together.
The first finger I made almost entirely out of EVA foam. I heat sealed and painted several coats of plastidip onto it before basing it out in silver paint and weathering with browns, blacks and darker silvers. The ‘grip’ portion on the bottom of the first finger is a piece of the textured rubber grip sheets that you use in cabinets and drawers to keep dishes from sliding around. I covered it in plastidip as well and painted it up. The portion that connects to the hand is polystyrene and is connected with a little piece of leather cording. The middle finger claw is 3D printed and painted black. The tops of the fingers are perforated aluminum that Brian was nice enough to peen for me and ship over. I cut them down to the proper size with some tin snips. I also dremeled the edges to be sure that after cutting they were no longer razor sharp. The portion that is connected to the hand is polystyrene and is connected with leather cording that is threaded through a piece of sintra and screwed into place. The ‘pinky’ is really just a slot to house both your ring and pinky fingers. The tip of a leather work glove was epoxied to the bottom and I used pieces of polystyrene to create a kind of sleeve that I could slip my fingers into. The top of this piece had a mini wrench and what looked like two nails on either side. I searched high and low to find out what type of nails these were and ended up going with two small phillips drill bits because I could not figure out what kind of nails they were.
The thumb was made from two pairs of vice grips that my husband and I dremeled apart. I fabricated a small spacer from stacked sintra that I sanded flush. This spaced the vice grips accordingly and gave enough room to accommodate my thumb without squishing it. I laid some shaped perforated aluminum over the thumb and secured it with 5 minute epoxy. I found this stuff to be extremely useful while building the hand and arm. The brackets that attached to the thumb and springs were made from polystyrene, painted and weathered. I disassembled the mini tripod that Katie had sent me and painted all the legs. One of Furiosa’s arm pistons is etched or engraved with a pattern. I opted to paint this pattern instead of etching it for fear of screwing it up. I may remove the paint, etch and repaint the design in the future but for now this was convincing. I liked how the paint turned out at any rate. For her elbow pad I felt that foam would be my quickest, most efficient method. It’s actually leather but as I had no more brown Angelus, no brown leather and not a lot of time I fell back to my go to material, EVA foam. I was able to quickly recreate the pad from foam which I then glued tacks into the backside of to simulate the rivets she has in the metal plate. I covered the whole thing with several coats of plastidip and once dry, painted and weathered. I think I would still like to make it from leather in the future but probably not unless the foam decides to warp on me or starts wrinkling.
One of the more significant struggles I had while finishing the arm was rigging everything together so that it fit and lined up where it all should be. This meant I had to try the arm on many times, fix one little thing, adjust another little thing, take off arm, adjust more, put arm on, move it around, take off arm, rinse repeat. It was more tiring than it rightly should have been but when it was all said and done I was extremely proud of the scale, overall look and silhouette of what I’d created. I started feeling much better about it when I was able to try it on and take some quick mirror selfies. I could now see the light at the end of the tunnel on something that only a few days prior, I was certain wouldn’t get finished. I adjusted the last few pieces, attached the wrench, the cord wrappings to all the wires and tubes and got everything attached so that I could wear the arm, harness and shoulder together. That was when I officially knew I was going to make my deadline.
I can barely put into words what finishing this project meant to me. I debuted Furiosa at Dragoncon with a Fury Road group of all my friends and it was just absolutely a perfect con. It felt really nice to have successfully completed such a challenging costume. All weekend at DCon I kept hearing friends tell me that they had been following my progress and that they were excited to finally see it all come together. I think this meant the most to me along with being able to cosplay alongside our wives group and our Max and Joe. Everyone is so talented and went the extra mile to be extremely faithful and accurate to the characters. It just really, really affected me in a very positive way and was memorable beyond words. I am normally completely drained at this point of the year and can’t bring myself to work on anything until January but finishing Furiosa was such an uplifting experience that after Dragoncon I was ready to create more costumes and I just felt really energized! I had horrible con crud but I was still in a really good place. Ahhh I love my Fury Road family so much and I can’t wait to wear this costume with them again.
Please feel free to PM me if something wasn’t clear, you want/need additional pictures or help. I am always up for lending assistance.
-Space Lion Cosplay
Current Residence: Fort Benning, GA
Favourite genre of music: Movie/Game Score/Instrumental
Wallpaper of choice: Garrus Vakarian
Favourite anime: Cowboy Bebop, Macross F, Attack on Titan, Steins;Gate, Kids on the Slope
Personal Quote: No black and white, in blue